Helicopter tours in Sabah are available from some travel companies in Kota Kinabalu city. On one of my working trips to Sabah, we rented a helicopter to fly the team over various popular tourist locations here and we used the helicopter services of Sabah Air who is based around Terminal 2 or KKIA 2. The aerial tour is available to the public and if you love seeing things from a birds eye view, then you should really try the Sabah Helicopter Tours. Below are various images taken from around during my five hour aerial tour of Sabah.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport or KKIA
As the Sabah Air helicopter took off from the hanger, we flew pass the Kota Kinabalu International Airport or KKIA which is just next to the sea. The feeling was quite odd for me as it was my first time flying in a helicopter too. The chopper was a Bell 206 Long Ranger which could seat four people easily. As two of my friends sat passenger at the back, I had the honor of being co-pilot sitting next to the captain in front. What scared me at first was the see through foot panel in the front as I could see the chopper lifting off the ground and everything moving just under my feet.
Flying towards Mount Kinabalu was rather interesting as we cruised pass various mountain ranges. The roads that I usually drive on to get to the mountain looked so small when I was up in the air. In the picture above, you see the main road that follows the mountain range passing the smaller towns and villages on route to Kinabalu.
Mount Kinabalu view from the air
One of the most breath-taking views was seeing the mountain at an altitude of 6,000 feet above sea level. The captain turned to me and asked if I had climbed up before and sadly my answer was no. He then told me to wait a few minutes and the next thing I know, I was at an altitude of 7,000 feet starring right at the tip of Mount Kinabalu. The experience was surreal having a different perspective of the mountain.
Gayana Eco Resort
We then left Kinabalu and proceeded to fly past the Kiulu River and through gorges and canyons and hills before heading back to the coastal area. From here I had an excellent view of the many islands above the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TAR Park) where seeing Sulug, Manukan, Mamutik, and Sapi Island from the sky was indeed beautiful. Flying over the islands, we headed towards Gaya Island and saw the beautiful Gayana Eco Resort and also the Bungaraya Resort. On the other hand, there is also another new resort coming up on the island by YTL Hotels which should be opened anytime in Q3 of 2012.
Kota Kinabalu City aerial view
Sabah Helicopter Tours - Bell 206 Long Ranger Helicopter
For those who want to have a different kind of experience you should consider looking at these unique tours in Sabah. There are a number of tour operators that offer these services. Apart from the aerial tours, Sabah Air also does air charters to various parts of Sabah namely the remote and hard to get to places like Maliau Basin, Mabul Island and other popular islands and even forest conservations like Danum Valley and Imbak Canyon. Overall for the general tours, the price ranges anywhere from RM700 to RM800 per person and per hour for Helicopter tours in Sabah.